Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (2006; must-see) + The Money Trap

Dandelion Salad

Note: 1st video no longer available

 on Mar 12, 2011

Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (2006) is an independent feature-length documentary film and (2007) book that chronicles abusive practices in the credit card industry. Written and directed by James Scurlock, the film and book use interviews with creditors, debtors, academics, and others to illustrate its story. The film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, USA, in 2006 where it claimed the Special Jury Prize. It went on to several film fests including Seattle, Full Frame Documentary, Maui, New Zealand, Milwaukee International, Woodstock, Bergen, Leeds International, Oxford and IDFA (Amsterdam) film festivals. It was released in movie theaters in select cities in the United States in March 2007 through Magnolia Pictures. The DVD was released nationally in June 7, 2007, in the joint effort Magnolia Pictures and Red Envelope Entertainment (a division of Netflix). The book Maxed Out is published by Scribner, a division of Simon and Schuster. It was published in March 2007 in hardcover and in December 2007 in paperback.Scurlock’s purpose for the film and book was to raise awareness of how credit and lending issues are affecting society. The main premises of the documentary and book are that banks and other creditors deliberately market to people who are more likely to have problems paying predatory lending and that the creditors benefit from connections to government, the debt collection industry, and from lawmaker apathy.

The non-profit organization Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL) has organized screenings of Maxed Out around the country as part of its work. AFFIL sustains a formal collaboration with the film.


Updated May 12, 2013

The Money Trap – How The Banks Lure You Into Debt – BBC Documentary

CommercialEconomics – Mar 11, 2013

A senior executive blows the whistle on the banking industry’s usurious lending tactics. This documentary reviews some of the profligate and predatory lending practices of the high street banks in the years of the credit boom which preceded the financial crisis. Indeed this documentary is in a sense chilling given what happened during the global financial crisis; i.e. super easy credit, high pressure to make money, huge incentives for banks to lend easy money. The documentary reviews the sales and marketing tactics, how banks benefited from the lending splurge, and some of the fallout e.g. debt related suicides. This documentary should serve as a case study in banking regulation; not just in terms of procedural regulations but also in terms of higher level macroprudential regulation to curtail excessive credit growth, particularly during unsustainable credit booms. See also (the US version): Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders
The Banking Code Standards Board is to investigate The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) after Panorama investigated debt-related suicides.


Exclusive: The student loan racketeering industry needs to be investigated!

from the archives:

Money as Debt 2 – Promises Unleashed (full video)

Money As Debt (video) + “In Debt We Have Trusted,” For over 300 years By Jim Kirwan

The Ascent of Money (2008) (must-see)

Modern Money Mechanics Federal Reserve

4 thoughts on “Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (2006; must-see) + The Money Trap

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  4. What a crock of shit, that guy at 5:45 telling that woman to ‘f*ing get a job* and pay back her debt. Cash is nothing but IOUs printed out by the governmetn, its no different than credit. And just like credit, its backed up by absolutely nothing. All those dollars you have or don’t have in your pocket, are IOUs printed by the government, and given to someone for some goods or service. Finding out these IOUs were worthless, because the government wouldn’t redeem them for anything at all, they passed the buck on to to someone else. And that someone else, passed it on to you. Now you’re stuck holding these worthless paper IOUs, and all you can do is pass them off on someone else. You can’t take them back to the government and redeem them for gold, silver, or anything else. Its all monopoly fantasy money.

    And the government is in so much debt, 12.7 trillion, they have to borrow 3.7 billion more every day just to pay the interest on this debt. Every single day, 3.7 billion. Nobody on earth can spend that much money in a day, even if you tried.

    By borrowing money, you create money, where money didn’t exist before. The credit card company doesn’t have the money to loan you, its all imaginary numbers in a computer, thanks to fractional reserve banking. The government is a theif, the credit card companies are a thief, and you’re just yet another thief. And bankrupcy is nothing more than a meeting of theives to write it all off so you can all start the process going again. And the the economy continues. That’s how financing works.

    If you were trading food and bread and not paying back, yes, it would be theivery, ie, real goods, but your not thing, this stuff is just phoney pieces of paper and numbers inside a computer created out of thin air.

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